How to Change the Oil on a 2003 Nissan Frontier

by Grace Mclain

Changing the oil in the 2003 Nissan Frontier is vital to extending the life of the engine. The oil is the most important part of the lubrication process. The oil lubricates all of the moving parts inside of the engine. The oil bonds to the metal parts to prevent heat friction. Once the oil breaks down, it will not be able to sufficiently protect the moving parts as it should.

This is what causes wear and tear on the engine. Changing the oil every 3,000 miles on the 2003 Nissan Frontier will keep the engine protected and it will also make the engine last longer. You can change the oil yourself on the 2003 Nissan Frontier in about a hour or so.

1

Drive the truck around and get the engine up to the normal operating temperature. This will heat up the oil. Hot oil is thin oil. Thin oil comes out faster and more oil will come out of the engine when it is thin.

2

Park the truck on a level surface. Unscrew the oil cap from the engine. The oil cap will be on the oil tube going into the left-hand side valve cover.

3

Locate the oil plug on the right-hand side of the oil pan. Take the ratchet and the 9/16 or 5/8 socket (depending on engine size) and loosen the drain plug by turning the plug counter-clockwise. Put the oil catch pan under the drain plug and finish removing the oil pan drain plug.

4

Let the oil flow into the oil catch pan until all of the oil has finished draining from the engine. Reinsert the drain plug and tighten the plug by turning the plug clockwise. The proper tightening torque on the 2003 Nissan Frontier is 22-29 Ft-lbs. If you do not have a torque wrench, then just tighten the drain plug as tight as you can without stripping the plug.

5

Move the oil catch pan under the oil filter. The oil filter is located on the left side of the engine in the front. The oil filter is easier to access from the bottom. Try removing the filter with your hands. if the filter is to tight, put the oil filter wrench on the filter and turn it counter clockwise to loosen and remove the oil filter. Put the old oil filter into the catch pan. Wipe the oil off of the splash guard directly below the oil filter.

6

Dab a little bit of the used motor oil onto the rubber seal on the new oil filter. Screw the new oil filter on to the threads by turning the filter clockwise with your hands until the filter tightens down. Then put a rag on the filter and tighten the filter another 2/3 of a turn to properly tighten the oil filter.

7

Put the funnel into the oil filler tube on the engine. Add 3.6 quarts of 5w-30 motor oil as recommended by the manufacturer. Then remove the funnel and put the oil cap back on the oil filler tube.

8

Crank the engine and let it run for about 30-45 seconds. This will allow the oil to go through the system and fill up the oil filter. Turn the engine off and inspect the oil plug and the oil filter for leaks.

9

Recheck the engine oil. The oil level should be on the "H" side of the dipstick. The "H" stands for "High" If the oil level is on or very near the "H" on the dipstick, then the engine oil is full. The other end of the dipstick oil level has a "L" for low. If the oil is on or near the "L," you will need to add more oil. The 2003 Nissan Frontier calls for 3.6 quarts with the filter so it should be reading as full.

Tips

  • check I recommend using a torque ratchet when reinstalling the oil drain plug and properly torquing the plug to 22-29 ft-lbs but as long as you get the plug tight without stripping the plug then it will be safe.
  • check The Fram oil filter part number for a 2003 Nissan frontier is: PH7317

Warnings

  • close Always wear safety glasses when doing a oil change on any car.
  • close Never use a oil filter wrench to tighten a oil filter. This will cause damage to the oil filter and the filter will leak oil.

Items you will need

About the Author

Grace Mclain has been writing professionally since 1998. Her articles have appeared on eHow.com, Answerbag.com and LIVESTRONG.COM, and she specializes in automotive and business topics. McIain has a professional writing certificate from JB Hunt in Little Rock, Ark.